The term ‘Functional Training’ has become very popular (and somewhat overused) in the fitness industry, especially over the last decade.
By definition Functional Training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life. Which in my opinion is what all exercises do. But if we are going to make a distinction between the two then I’d say that functional exercises are generally more dynamic and multi-joint focused (compound).
So how does that relate to your training?
If you want to do functional training your goal should be to do specific movements and exercises that closely mimic and replicate what you do from day to day. These exercises could mimic activities you do at home, at work, on the weekend, in sport and so on. Like mentioned previously, if we wanted to make an exercise for you more ‘functional’ we would get you into a more active position (eg. standing instead of sitting), use more than one muscle group and have you moving through multiple planes of motion.
When it comes to human movement there are 7 movements that we perform.
To improve your movement efficiency and build strength that is more functional then you need to incorporate the movements listed above into your exercise program. As an example, spending a whole workout doing isolated exercises on your biceps or glutes doesn’t lead to better overall movement. Doing these exercises play their role of course, but wouldn’t be considered a ‘functional’ exercise.
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